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Investigating Like a Pro: Best Practices for HR Leaders

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This presentation, often delivered to SHRM chapters and at workshops/conferences, is a look at some of the key elements of investigations, including the top five mistakes, how to prepare a foundation for success, best practices to follow, and more. This session is full of entertaining stories and interactive questions with the audience to create a more engaging learning experience.

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Investigating Like a Pro: Best Practices for HR Leaders

  1. 1. Investigating Like a Pro: Best Practices for HR Leaders
  2. 2. The Alleged Harassment Investigation Employee comes to you claiming she is being harassed by a supervisor. The only witness is the best friend and coworker of the employee. The employee has been having consistent performance issues for some time and was on the verge of a performance improvement plan at the time of report. The employee is over 40 and is a military reservist. How do you proceed?
  3. 3. Benefits + Company + Employees
  4. 4. Common Mistakes
  5. 5. Top 5 Investigation Mistakes #1 Delayed action
  6. 6. Top 5 Investigation Mistakes #2 Poor planning
  7. 7. Top 5 Investigation Mistakes #3 Retaliation
  8. 8. Top 5 Investigation Mistakes #4 Lack of follow up
  9. 9. Top 5 Investigation Mistakes #5 Losing objectivity
  10. 10. The Hour-Stealing Investigation
  11. 11. Sharpening the Ax
  12. 12. Laying a Foundation Do we investigate?
  13. 13. Laying a Foundation Who will investigate?
  14. 14. Laying a Foundation What will be investigated?
  15. 15. Laying a Foundation What evidence needs to be collected?
  16. 16. Laying a Foundation Who will be interviewed?
  17. 17. The Voodoo Curse Investigation
  18. 18. Tune Into Your Inner Matlock
  19. 19. Investigation Best Practices Take complaints seriously
  20. 20. Investigation Best Practices Investigate quickly
  21. 21. Investigation Best Practices Develop a plan
  22. 22. Investigation Best Practices Remain objective
  23. 23. Investigation Best Practices Prevent retaliation
  24. 24. Investigation Best Practices Follow up
  25. 25. Investigation Best Practices Report out
  26. 26. Flexing Your Forecasting Muscles Give percentages and probabilities when possible Base decisions on known facts, historical trends, and elements unique to the situation You might not make the final decision, but you’re pretty
  27. 27. Other Quick Tips • Confidentiality, even among peers • Quick and thorough • Beyond a reasonable doubt vs preponderance of evidence • Related: show your work • Case law, juries, remedies, motives
  28. 28. Sample Questions
  29. 29. Sample Questions-Complainant Who committed the alleged harassment? What exactly occurred or was said? When did it occur and is it still ongoing? Where did it occur? How often did it occur? How did it affect you? How did you react? What response did you make when the incident(s) occurred or afterwards? How did the harassment affect you? Has your job been affected in any way? Are there any persons who have relevant information? Are there any notes, physical evidence, or other documentation regarding the incident(s)? How would you like to see the situation resolved?
  30. 30. Sample Questions-Accused What is your response to the allegations? If the harasser claims that the allegations are false, ask why the complainant might lie. Are there any persons who have relevant information? Are there any notes, physical evidence, or other documentation regarding the incident(s)? Do you know of any other relevant information?
  31. 31. Sample Questions-Witnesses What did you see or hear? When did this occur? Describe the alleged harasser’s behavior toward the complainant and toward others in the workplace. What did the complainant tell you? When did s/he tell you this? Do you know of any other relevant information? Are there other persons who have relevant information?
  32. 32. Reminder: Everyone Has Issues James Castelluccio worked for his employer for 40 years, earning numerous promotions and positive performance reviews. Supervisor changed. Castelluccio reports age discrimination claim to HR. Claim dismissed. Terminated subsequently. Files suit. Final result? https://www.endicottalliance.org/James%20Castelluccio.v.IBM.htm
  33. 33. Questions? Contact Me Email: ben@upstarthr.com Website: upstarthr.com

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